A woman who was missing for four days after reportedly walking away from a car wreck in Mendocino County has been charged with “felony abusing or endangering the health of a child” — her young son, who was with her during that time.
A wide search by foot and air, including helicopters, drones and dogs, was launched after the discovery on Nov. 30, 2020, of a minivan that had struck a tree after going off northbound Highway 101 near Confusion Hill, 6 miles north of Leggett. In it was a seriously injured 44-year-old Sacramento man, who told California Highway Patrol officers that the driver had walked away with her 3-year-old child after the crash.
Four days later, the woman was found naked, crouched on the highway not far from the crash site. Her son was at the bottom of a steep embankment.
Though the woman was described as being in distress, the two had only minor physical injuries, a CHP officer said at the time. She reportedly told her rescuers that she and her son had fallen into the Eel River and had taken refuge at an abandoned marijuana encampment.
Several days after the woman was found, the CHP said she might face endangerment charges, as well as felony hit-and-run for walking away from the crash — but it took a year for the investigation to be completed. On Tuesday, Dec. 14, the Mendocino County District Attorney filed the criminal complaint with the endangerment charge.
The woman, now 35, was booked into Mendocino County Jail and released on bail the same day, the Mendo Fever news site reported. It said she is to be arraigned on Jan. 5.
The two were found near mile marker 98.5 of Highway 101, not far from the crash site.
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